American Association of Port Authorities (AAPA), Alexandria, Va.
Rexford Sherman, director of research and information services, retired end of 2017, after 38 years of service. Sherman joined AAPA in 1979, and has been responsible for research, writing and editing of technical reports, surveys and publications, most notably AAPA’s weekly newsletter, the Advisory. In addition, he has served as one of AAPA’s facilitators for Latin American ports and has managed the AAPA Professional Port Manager Program (PPM). As a result of Sherman’s retirement, AAPA created two new positions. Meredith Martino, AAPA’s director of publications, digital media and technology, will be promoted to chief engagement officer, providing relevant content for association members, coordinating content delivery across multiple platforms, setting engagement goals and measuring progress. AAPA senior communications and marketing specialist Mary Beth Long will be promoted to chief external affairs officer, charged with increasing AAPA’s outreach and external communications, developing campaigns around critical issues, using communications tools to support engagement efforts and working with AAPA’s Curriculum Committee to enhance professional development certification programs. The succession plan also includes AAPA’s director of freight and surface transportation policy, John Young, to assume AAPA staff liaison responsibilities for the association’s security and defense committees. Also, AAPA membership and Latin American specialist Tom Hranac will become assistant director of membership services and Latin American facilitator, assuming increased responsibilities for membership services, including the association’s Latin American port membership. Lastly, Johanna Nuby joined as manager of operations and administration. Previously, Nuby was an associate with Physician Assistant Education Association. Also, Andrew Cameron was appointed communications and membership assistant. Previously, Cameron was an account coordinator with Potomac Management Resources.
The Center for Dairy Excellence, Harrisburg, Pa.
Myrannda Kleckner was named communications and marketing manager, responsible for leading the center and the center foundation’s branding and communications initiatives, expanding the reach of the center’s message while encouraging greater use of its programs among dairy farm businesses and other dairy stakeholders. She will also assist the center’s efforts in supporting dairy processors in leveraging the PA Preferred Program in marketing local dairy products, as well as growing The Calving Corner – Pennsylvania’s dairy cow birthing center. Kleckner has served the center as a dairy education and communications intern and communications specialist, and maintained internships at Penn State Extension, Chesapeake Bay Foundation and Pennsylvania Department of Agriculture.
Michigan State University (MSU), East Lansing, Mich.
Tom Wetsch, chief innovation officer of Pregis LLC, joined MSU’s School of Packaging Industry Advisory Board. Wetsch has been instrumental in developing and commercializing technology that helps companies get their products to consumers damage free. These include on-demand packaging systems, films, polyethylene foam, air cushioning and mailers.
Impossible Foods, Redwood City, Calif.
Veteran sales leader Stephanie Lind was named senior vice president of sales. Previously, Lind was chief executive officer of Elohi Strategic Advisors, and before that, was vice president of North American sales for Kerry Group, leading a 50-person team, including national account managers, inside sales representatives, corporate account managers, regional sales managers and merchandisers. She previously held executive sales roles at Sysco, Havi Logistics, PepsiCo and Pepperidge Farm.
Lucky Strike Farms, Burlingame, Calif.
Long-time produce veteran Michael Hopkins announced his retirement, effective Jan. 1. Known throughout the industry as “Hoppy,” he spent the last 25 years as retail sales manager for Lucky Strike Farms. Hopkins started in produce transportation in 1972 after a stint in the Air Force. Moving into marketing at Sahara Packing in 1982, he was eventually promoted to sales manager before joining the Lucky Strike team in 1992. In 2014, he opened a central valley office for Lucky Strike Farms, handling the company’s California chain store accounts.
Performance Food Group Co. (PFG), Richmond, Va.
Patrick Hagerty was promoted to executive vice president and president and CEO of Vistar, effective Jan. 1. He previously served as senior vice president of PFG and president and CEO of Vistar. Hagerty joined Vistar in 1994 as vice president of merchandising before being named vice president and COO of Vistar. Earlier in his career, he served as director of general merchandise for Cub Foods, a division of Super Value.
Interfresh, Inc., Orange, Calif.
Citrus industry veteran John Famini joined as national accounts manager for the citrus department. Famini brings 23 years of citrus experience, all of it with Sunkist Growers. He also has served on the board of directors for Fresh Produce and the Floral Council.
Pinnacle Foods Inc., Parsippany, N.J.
Daniel Poland was appointed executive vice president and chief supply chain officer, effective Jan. 22, replacing D. Michael Wittman, who is retiring following a transition period. Poland maintains a diverse background encompassing supply chain leadership, financial management and research and development. He joined WhiteWave in 2014 as senior vice president of supply chain, responsible for all aspects of the company's end-to-end supply chain. Following the 2017 acquisition of WhiteWave by Danone, Poland was named chief supply chain officer for North American operations at DanoneWave. Prior to DanoneWave, Poland was employed by the former H.J. Heinz Co. for 15 years. His positions included North American chief supply chain officer; vice president of Heinz North American manufacturing and tomato seed business; vice president of dry manufacturing; director of food service operations; and factory manager. Poland began his career with Gerber and Nestlé in various roles of increased responsibility, including R&D, engineering and operations management.
Market Fresh Produce, LLC, Nixa, Mo.
Jeff Patterson joined the business development team of the St. Louis, Mo., campus, responsible for generating new customers, building customer relationships and driving new business across all U.S. markets. Patterson is a director of produce with more than 35 years of leadership in merchandising, organizational development, sourcing and sales planning. Patterson has also held various positions in the produce industry at corporations such as BI-LO Supermarkets, SavA-Center Supermarkets, BJ’s Wholesale Club, Minyard’s Food Stores, Niemann Foods, Inc., and Nash Finch Co.
Red Robin Gourmet Burgers, Inc., Greenwood Village, Colo.
Dana Benfield was promoted to senior vice president and chief marketing officer, responsible for overseeing the company’s brand marketing and guest engagement teams, as well as leading its food and beverage and commercialization initiatives. Benfield a 15-year veteran of the company's marketing team. Previously, she served as Red Robin's vice president of marketing and menu innovation, where she led the development of the Red Robin Royalty loyalty program. Benfield maintains more than 30 years of experience in the foodservice industry. Prior to joining Red Robin in 2002, she served as an account manager for Karsh & Hagan Advertising, where she managed Denver region marketing programs for McDonald's. She also worked for a McDonald's franchisee in Tampa, Fla., serving in various roles from restaurant management to marketing.
Papa John's International, Inc., Louisville, Ky.
Steve Ritchie was promoted to chief executive officer, effective Jan. 1, tasked with leading Papa John's global development and facilitating the brand's marketing, digital and customer experience evolution. Ritchie started with Papa John's in 1996 as a customer service representative. In 2006, he became a Papa John's franchise owner and operator, then in 2010, began serving in increasing capacities of leadership in operations until being promoted to chief operating officer in 2014. Ritchie was named president of Papa John’s in 2015.
Taco Bell Corp., Irvine, Calif.
Julie Felss Masino was named brand president, responsible for ensuring the brand continues to deliver same-store sales growth by driving innovation, new store development and a frictionless customer experience. She will also continue the brand's strong partnership with its franchisees. Masino comes from Mattel Inc., where she led the Fisher Price division. Prior to that, she achieved extensive experience in the restaurant industry. Masino spent 12 years at Starbucks in leadership positions across numerous functions, including marketing, operations and strategic growth – both domestically and globally. She also maintains experience building newer brands, having served as chief executive officer of Sprinkles Cupcakes, Inc., where she grew store count, diversified retail product offerings and launched its newest concept of cupcakes and ice cream. Chief food innovation officer Liz Matthews' role will be elevated to oversee international capabilities, including research and development, quality assurance and engineering. Mike Grams is expanding his title to chief operations and development officer, tasked with overseeing growth in Canada and global operations. Marisa Thalberg is expanding her role globally, and will now serve as chief brand officer, where she will continue to drive the brand's U.S. business directly, and be responsible for e-commerce, internal communications, events and ensuring global consistency of the company’s marketing strategy. Meanwhile, Elizabeth Baicy, vice president, digital and future works, and Jon Kosoff, vice president, e-commerce and performance marketing, were selected to lead the company’s new technology initiatives in 2018. Baicy comes from Amazon, where she was responsible for growing product revenue across Amazon's international digital comic business (Kindle, Manga and comiXology). She also led the end-to-end growth and "demand" of new device categories such as Fire phone, Dash, Echo and Alexa. Her background spans 15 years of working for technology-based companies. Kosoff previously served as senior vice president of e-commerce and CRM at Hot Topic Inc., and for the past 18 years, has led measurable growth and return on investment for top consumer companies through digital platforms focused on e-commerce, omni-channel, mobile, merchandising, marketing and CRM.
Wingstop Restaurants Inc., Dallas, Texas
Larry Kruguer was appointed executive vice president and chief operating officer, responsible for the company’s global operations, supply chain and training. Kruguer has served as Wingstop’s president of international since 2015.
FlexXray, Arlington, Texas
Chris Keith was hired as vice president of sales and customer service. Keith brings 13 years of experience in the food and beverage industry, and has held positions of increasing responsibility in the disciplines of direct sales/marketing, sales team management, customer service and administrative leadership. Along with serving on the division leadership team, his most recent role included responsibility for overall sales, marketing and consumer activation within his region.
McLane Co., Inc., Temple, Texas
Susan Adzick was promoted to senior vice president of sales and strategic relationships, leading the entire business development and national account functions for McLane Foodservice. Adzick, who joined the company in 2000, will assume the expanded responsibility of providing the strategic direction, business development and customer relationship management for the entire portfolio of McLane Foodservice. She will continue to work across all departments within McLane to leverage the strengths of the organization to optimize service and supply chain solutions for current and prospective customers. Previously, Adzick was vice president of sales and marketing. Currently, she is incoming chair of the Women’s Foodservice Forum board of directors, and serves on the National Restaurant Association board of directors, Executive Committee and Business Strategy Committee, the National Restaurant Educational Foundation Board of Trustees, Executive Committee and the Restaurant Leadership Conference Advisory Board.
RadTech, Chevy Chase, Md.
Todd Fayne, global packaging manager, global snacks, Pepsico; Sunny Ye, senior research engineer, 3M; and Mike Bonner, vice president, engineering and technology, Saint Clair Systems, Inc. were elected new board members to serve a 2-year term, effective Jan. 1. In addition, board members elected to a second term include JoAnn Arceneaux, manager, technical service and business development, Allnex; Mark Gordon, R&D manager, offset UV/EB, INX International; George McGill, technical director, Precision Ink; Alexander Polykarpov, senior scientist, AkzoNobel; Xiaosong Wu, R&D manager, DSM; and Hui Yang, principle scientist, Procter and Gamble.
Key Technology, Walla Walla, Wash.
Ray Kramer was appointed senior director of North America sales, responsible for managing the company’s U.S. and Canada sales organization. Previously, Kramer was the general manager of YXLON USA, and spent time as director of worldwide sales and support – semiconductor division and later as managing director sales – Americas for Keithley Instruments/Danaher Corp. Prior to that, he was sales director – North and South America at Eltech Systems Corp. (Diamond Shamrock).
Stellar, Jacksonville, Fla.
Michael Wodrich joined as senior vice president, general counsel. Wodrich has been a long-serving member with Rogers Towers, where he represented contractors, architects and engineers in contract negotiations with developers, owners and subcontractors. His practice also included structuring and negotiating complex business transactions for clients in healthcare, commercial real estate and other industries.
Pelican BioThermal, Minneapolis
Dominic Hyde was named vice president of the company’s Crēdo on Demand rental program. Hyde maintains more than 23 years engineering expertise and leadership experience. Previously, Hyde was managing director at va-Q-tec and chief operating officer of Envirotainer.
AMETEK Solidstate Controls, Columbus, Ohio
Patrick Williams was promoted to division vice president and business unit manager of Solidstate Controls, responsible for leading the growth and productivity of five power-related AMETEK businesses, including AMETEK Powervar, AMETEK Power Instruments, AMETEK Prestolite Power, AMETEK Solidstate Controls and HDR and AMETEK ESP. Williams previously served as division vice president at AMETEK MicroPoise Measurement Systems. He maintains more than 11 years’ experience at various AMETEK businesses.
Nor-Lake, Hudson, Wis.
Jeff Blackwell was hired as vice president of operations for the Standex Refrigerated Solutions Group, responsible for all aspects of manufacturing, safety, supply chain, quality and operational excellence. In this role, he will work on designing and implementing operational improvements, helping to maximize the operational efficiency and product quality while also striving toward a zero-incident safety culture. He will also provide input and analysis on all business functions regarding continuous improvement. Blackwell maintains many years of experience in operations, serving two years as vice president of operations at AmesburyTruth Corp., where he was responsible for multiple sites in the United States, Canada and Mexico. Prior to joining Amesbury, Blackwell was the senior vice president for Vestcom International, where he managed plant operations. Justin Thompson joined as new continuous improvement manager, effective Jan. 3, where he will help drive the company toward operational excellence. His responsibilities include employing a consistent organization-wide approach to continuous improvement by providing best practice training, methods and tools. For the last four years, Thompson has been corporate director of continuous improvement at Nortech Systems, Inc. Prior to joining Nortech, he was continuous improvement manager for Advanced Web Technologies. And, Susan Walker was appointed new human resources manager, overseeing all aspects of human resources, including employee engagement, organizational development, recruiting, talent development and benefits administration. Walker maintains over 20 years of experience as an HR professional. In her most recent position with Walker Consulting, LLC, she partnered with business leaders to achieve business goals, solve critical HR issues and promote employee engagement. Prior to consulting, Walker worked with 3M Co. in several HR leadership roles dealing with employee relations, employee development and leadership development.
IN MEMORIUM: BARNEE ERKINS, SNAKE RIVER TROUT CO.
Marion Bernardine "Barnee" Morris Erkins passed away Dec. 29, 2017, in Twin Falls, Idaho.
Barnee and her husband, the late Robert "Bob" Alter Erkins, founded the Snake River Trout Co., which was dubbed as the world's largest trout processing plant, selling to restaurants around the world.
Barnee was noted for creating the famous breaded Trout Amandine for the Snake River Trout Co., as well as the recipe for "Trout Barnee," which during the time of Kennedy's inauguration, was featured on the menu of Harvey's Restaurant, which at that time was a politically-famed restaurant in Washington, D.C.
In 1976, Erkins moved to White Arrow Ranch in Bliss, Idaho, where she co-founded Bliss Valley Foods, utilizing the property's unique hot springs and geothermal energy to produce gourmet oyster mushrooms.
Together, Barnee and Bob founded the International Seafood Conference and the Erkins Seafood Letter. For over 20 years, she served as vice president of the conference and editor-in-chief of the monthly and quarterly newsletters.
A funeral service will be held on Jan. 5th at 4:00 p.m. at St. Elizabeth's Catholic Church, Gooding, Idaho.
Funeral services and cremation arrangements are under the care and direction of Demaray Funeral Service - Gooding Chapel.
In lieu of flowers, please make donations to The Monastery of the Ascension in Jerome, Idaho, or St. Jude Children's Research Hospital, Memphis, Tenn.